I can’t believe how mediocre this game is. Yeah, Rare have pulled some real stinkers out of the hat before (Grabbed by the Ghoulies anyone?) but this was so hyped, and so long in the making (it was originally a N64 title!) that it’s amazing that it was released in this, clearly unfinished, state.
Earlier today, I posted this at rllmuk:
I’m five hours in, and have just done the catapult bit. Having no proper way of rolling the ammo for them was a pain. As was rolling the egg bombs before it. But that’s just the most recent set of niggles I’ve had…
Especially aiming controls. Why is it, that Flex/Chilla/Ash/Deep Blue all have different aiming controls? Some use the left stick, some the right. Some you have to hold the trigger to keep aiming, some it’s a toggle. Some you have up-is-down, others up-is-up. Gah! In fact, using the triggers for attacks at all is bollocks and makes no sense at all for any character other than Pummel Weed, and even then it wasn’t necessary. And Deep Blue in the water is just totally uncontrollable anyway. And pressing LT+RT at the same time to do Kameo’s kickflip only works 20% of the time as you jump or hover accidently. The reverse is true for Pummel Weed, as you “box” with LT and RT alternating, and trigger the LT+RT move inadvertantly. Stupid.
It’s all in slime-o-vision. Everything looks too shiny, or like it’s made of hot wax. There’s no continuity with the quality of textures – 99% of the Badlands looks like it hasn’t been drawn properly. The “fungus-grass” in caves looks like a 2D sprite, as you can rotate around it and it seems to stay facing you, a-la-Doom corpses. It’s impossible to tell the difference between warriors on your side, and trolls, until you’re actually punching them. And there’s slowdown when you smash crates and stuff sometimes too.
The regional accents are funny for five seconds. Why does the music get all dramatic as you approach the entrance to the Snow Top Mountain area, and then nothing dramatic actually happen? Also, Ortho got in a speech repeat-loop just before I entered the Water Temple. He did his speech about now I had Deep Blue I could enter, then some bystander said something, then Ortho repeated his bit, then he repeated it again, and again, and again, until I actually entered the hole under the waterfall.
Specifically, Pummel Weed. Can *I* choose who I want to fight, please? The troll right next to me is more important than the troll behind a rock who is fighting an elf.
How many times do I need to use Pummel Weed to duck under vines? Or Major Ruin to spin up a ramp? Or Ash to light three torches to unlock a door? Or Rubble to chuck rocks in things’ mouths?
Every room you walk into, you know what’s going to happen. Look! A big round area with lava fountains! I wonder if those fire demons I have to hose down will… oh look! There they are! Oh! I’ve opened another bit in the Water Temple, and I have to swim round the water area again. I wonder if… yes! There’s another boat to destroy! And all the Shadow Trolls are exactly the same! Oh, there’s a bomb-egg dragon flying round, I wonder if I’ll… Joy! A rock blocking my way! And I’d guessed three seconds after meeting her that the witch lizard woman with the crystal eye would be a baddie, am I right? Don’t tell me!
STUPID PLOT DIALOGUE!
Ortho says “Hmm, I’ll bet we need to find an Elemental Spirit to help us negotiate this mountain!”. How do you know? I’ve only just got here for the first time ever! “I’ve just remembered! These plants are called Lickathingies, I’ll bet Flex can grab their tongues!”. “You’ll need to get up there and see if you can find some catapults of our own, and look around for something you can use as ammo!”. Wow – what a coincidence – catapults *and* ammo, just standing there! “Horses are scared of villages and castles” – WHAT?
The whole thing seems rushed. Clearly, they’ve not had much time to spend developing it. Although wasn’t it supposed to be an Atari 7800 launch title at some point? I’m not that pleased I paid £7, to be honest. I’d be gutted to have paid £50 at launch.